Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Colossians 1:15-28

1:15 The theological buzz word here is "eikwn" or "icon." A few things worth noting; this is a word used in Colossians, but not Ephesians. Second, Christ is the first thing mentioned, not as being made in the image, but in fact the image of God. Third thing, the word will come back into play in Col, in Chapter 3, where our minds our renewed into the image of the one who created us. One thing rather interesting is that in as much as the tension between Jew and Greek may have been solved in the book of Colossians (perhaps suggesting a later date than Paul himself!), but tension between Christ and world has not. The writer of Colossians (who I assert is Paul) continued to hold up the dramatic newness of Christ and the corresponding life in Christ.

1:17 " in him all things hold together." The Greek verb here underneath this all is "stand together." This is a rather interesting verb because it literally means "stand with." (synistehmi) "hold together" is a fair translation, but one could even make this a bit stronger -- all things stand united in him; or are even combined in him!

1:18 Great words here: arche. Jesus is the arche. As in "monarch" means one ruler, one principle...Jesus is the ruler, the root, the principle, the beginning, the origin.

1:18 We get the second time for "prototokos": First born. This time not of creation, but of the dead. (Remember the Nestorian debate over "theotokos..."

1:24 The word "my" as in "my sufferings" is not in the Greek. Paul simply says, "I rejoice in the sufferings on your behalf." It is the translators interpretation (ie NRSV and NET) that Paul here refers to rejoicing because of Christ or his sufferings. Regardless, the more difficult part of the sentence is what is meant by "sufferings 'tou' Christ" (the word for suffering and Christ here are straight forward!). The 'tou" there indicates a genitive. So we are back in a familiar place in translation -- sufferings for Christ (objective gen) or sufferings of Christ (subjective gen). The most favorable translation for Paul is that he is going to complete the lack of his suffering for Christ on behalf of the church.

1:25 I will save this for another post/year/time, but Paul says he is commissioned. The actual Greek here is that he is a servant "according to the 'oikonomia' of God." To read another way: "He is a servant according to the economy of God." That is our call, folks, the economy of God. What might this passage say about God's economy? One brief comment: Creation, Jesus, suffering, proclamation, reconcilation and see Col 3.20...a new creation!

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